Usually, we laugh like hell at fans who expect the playoff picture next year to look exactly like it did last year. The reason is pretty straightforward. Each year and every year, about 5 teams who did not make the playoffs the year before make it this year. Since this is a zero sum game, the inverse is also true.
Consider 2010. After two years out of the playoffs, the Seahawks were in. After two years in, the Cardinals were out. After one year out, the Steelers were back in. After one year in the Bengals were out. After a couple of years out, the Packers were in won the whole shebang. After a couple of years in, the Vikings were down and out.
The take home message is pretty simple: The playoff picture changes every single year. There are no instant replays in the playoff picture from year to year.
Rich Eisen, Jamie Dukes and Trent Green kicked this can around on NFL Total Access tonight. Jamie and Trent each produced a list of 5 teams they thought would make the playoffs in 2011. Consult the NFL.com for video. They may yet put that one up on the site.
I thought I would quickly put my list of playoff teams up and explain why some folks still won't win it.
Why the Giants? Only the Eagles look like a playoff team to me in the East, but they are vulnerable and beatable. I like the Giants to resign Plaxico and find their mojo center again.
Why the Texans? I think their defensive crew is better than advertised, and their LBs are better for the 3-4 than some suppose. They need a secondary, but everything else looks pretty decent. I like Wade Phillips to fix their defense well enough to allow a 6 seed in the AFC tournament.
Why the Rams? I like Sam Bradford's return to the Spread with Josh McDaniels. I think we will find a way to fix our wide receiver problems. We don't have much in the way of opposition in the NFC West. I like my Rams to take the 4 seed, despite a tough schedule.
Why the Bucs? I already spelled this out in an early blog entry. I think they have a fundamentally sound crew on offense. I like their chances of finishing their front four defensively in this year's draft. If they finish their line this year, they will have a good defense this year. I think they will be clutch in key moments, despite a tougher schedule in 2011.
Why the Lions? They Lions have big play makers on offense. They need offensive linemen like a dying man needs water in the desert, but I will trust them to do this in the draft in a few days. Surely they cannot be stupid enough to leave young Matt Stafford unprotected for a 3rd straight season?
Now let me discard some popular picks from Trent and Jamie, and tell you why. Here are the teams picked to make the playoffs this season who will not:
- The Chargers
- The 49ers
- The Cowboys
Why the 49ers? Folks, with their lousy offensive chemistry, no change at the trigger-man, the loss of their defensive brain Mike Singletary, and a brand new coaching administration you can forget about these guys. The first year in the WCO is a bitch. I have no idea in the world how you can fuckin' pick these guys. These guys are going no where.
I was shocked when I heard a very intelligent dude like Trent Green proposing the notion the 49ers have playmakers. Why in the world would that matter if they have lousy chemistry and unit cohesion? Everyone is in a massive state of denial about the 49ers offensive skill personnel. I am telling you: They need a full skill-position clean and flush. Keep the offensive line, rebuild completely at your skill positions.
Right now, it looks like the 49er plan is to bring in a new coach and keep the same failed crew. It ain't gonna work folks. This is the scheme of a Busch-League organization. They have already brought in a hit parade of good coaches to coach these offensive bums. It ain't working.
Why the Cowboys? Finally! An interesting question! Folks, listen to Michael Irvin. The same fuckers who quit on the Cowboys are still on the roster right now. This is partially a consequence of the lock-out, but I don't think they can completely excise the cancer in a quick-time off-season disrupted by this lockout. The Cowboys' problems are deeper than many think. I am also concerned that Jerry might not do enough to fix their offensive line this season. What if Nick Fairley shows up at 9? What then?
There you have it folks